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Historic dish returns to WA museum

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016 Rebecca Gredley

The oldest known European object found on Australian soil will return to WA to commemorate 400 years of European contact.

Culture and Arts Minister John Day said the dish, which was left at Shark Bay in 1616 by Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog, was extremely fragile so this was probably the last time it would travel to Australia.

"This will be a unique opportunity for West Australians and visitors to WA to share in a precious piece of history that marks the beginning of our enduring connections with the Dutch people and their culture," he said.

"The exhibition will reveal how the Indian Ocean emerged as the world's first cultural super highway, spreading trade, wealth and ideas across the world."

The dish is named after Hartog, who landed at Cape Inscription on October 25, 1616 and inscribed details of his voyage on the pewter dish before nailing it to a post.

In 1697, another Dutch explorer, Willem de Vlamingh, landed at the same spot, seeing the fallen dish on the ground and taking it back to the Netherlands with him.

He replaced the dish with his own, named the de Vlamingh dish, which is on permanent display at the Shipwreck Galleries in Fremantle and is part of the WA State Collection.

The Hartog dish is normally on display at Amsterdam's popular Rijksmuseum, but will feature in The Travellers and Traders in the Indian Ocean World exhibition at the WA Maritime Museum until the end of October.

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